World Sports Betting Cape Cobras coach Ashwell Prince is upbeat about the return of international players Hashim Amla and skipper JP Duminy for the hosts’ next Momentum One Day Cup clash against the Multiply Titans at PPC Newlands on Friday.

Asked about Amla, Prince said he did not closely observe his technique in the tests, but he had scored a One-Day International not so long ago and is looking forward to having a player of Amla’s experience at the top of the order.

“I am excited about Amla batting at the top of the order and JP in the middle, and the fact that they are batting around our younger batsmen, will add a lot for them,” he said.

Prince stated earlier in the week that he backed all-rounder George Linde and the wicketkeeper/batsman Kyle Verreynne for selection for the Cricket World Cup and when asked about this endorsement from his coach, Verreynne said, “a few months ago I wasn’t even sure I would play one-dayers for the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras. I want to focus on the Cobras and stay level-headed before I can dream of wearing the Proteas jersey.

“It is a nice feeling that the coach backs me, but I need to stay focused and perform more consistently to be rewarded to play for the Proteas,” Linde said.

Looking ahead to Friday’s clash against the Multiply Titans, Prince acknowledged that the Momentum One Day Cup is a tight competition, but that every team is beatable.

“I will prepare for them the same way we always do, by studying their strengths and weaknesses and see if we can pick some holes in them.”

World Sports Betting Cape Cobras squad: JP Duminy (Captain), Hashim Amla, David Bedingham, Tladi Bokako, Rory Kleinveldt, George Linde, Janneman Malan, Pieter Malan, Aviwe Mgijima, Akhona Mnyaka, Dane Paterson, Dane Piedt, Kyle Verreynne.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – FEBRUARY 06: JP Duminy, Ashwell Prince (Head Coach) and Dane Piedt during the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras Training Session and Press Conference at PPC Newlands on February 06, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images)

Dane Piedt will lead the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras in the opening match of the Momentum One Day Cup campaign against the Warriors at Eurolux Boland Park on Friday, in the absence of the injured JP Duminy.

Piedt played in a limited number of white-ball cricket games last season, but he is in the form of his life, having taken 54 wickets in the Four-Day Franchise Series and scoring a career-best 114.

At a press conference at PPC Newlands on Wednesday, Prince said the fact that the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras fell short in their bid to win the Four-Day Franchise Series was tough, but having personally experienced the tragic loss of a good friend in Port Elizabeth, it put things into perspective for him and that “there is a lot more to life than cricket.”

He added that the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras are playing with a lot of self-confidence.

What is heartening, is that 90% of the team that played so brilliantly in the Four-Day Franchise Series, are available for the Momentum One Day Cup.

When they walk onto the field at Eurolux Boland Park on Friday afternoon against the Warriors, the self-belief will be there that they possess the attack to take ten wickets.

The World Sports Betting Cape Cobras captured 178 wickets in the Four-Day Franchise Series, with Piedt capturing 54 scalps and Dane Paterson ending with 34.

Another very positive acquisition is that Tladi Bokako, who will return after a lay-off with an ankle injury.

Dayyaan Galiem and Mthiwekhaya Nabe are not available due to injury.

Bokako and Paterson formed a formidable opening bowling pair in the Four-Day Franchise Series and will be a threat in the competition.

The World Sports Betting Cape Cobras white-ball captain of last season, JP Duminy, is out with a shoulder injury, but he is on track to play in the second match of the Momentum One-Day competition against the VKB Knights on February 19 in Bloemfontein.

Prince said the team that lost the home semi-finals last season was without Duminy in that match and missed his experience in chasing down a total.

He likes to refer to his team as a kindergarten squad of 2017/2018 that has grown and matured tremendously this season so far. That is one of the reasons why the team came second in the Four-Day Franchise Series.

The World Sports Betting Cape Cobras want to play positive, explosive cricket and it would be the case judging from the 13 players that were selected for the opening match.

Zubayr Hamza, Jason Smith are naturally aggressive players, and so is Kyle Verreynne. They are destined to be crucial in the middle order.

Janneman Malan, who recently made an excellent debut for South Africa in the T20 International against Pakistan, will open the batting with his brother, Pieter. The younger Malan is an aggressive player will be aiming to display his talents in his first outing in white-ball cricket for the Cobras.

WP batsman Isaac Dikgale has also been included in the team for the opener.

The good balance of the top-order and the excellent balance in the middle order will give the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras extra confidence ahead of the first fixture in Paarl against the Warriors.

The World Sports Betting Cape Cobras squad: Dane Piedt (c), David Bedingham, Tladi Bokako, Isaac Dikgale, JP Duminy, Zubayr Hamza, George Linde, Janneman Malan, Pieter Malan, Akhona Mnyaka, Dane Paterson, Jason Smith, Kyle Verreynne.

A disappointed Ashwell Prince gave a sobering perspective on the heartbreak that the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras experienced by just missing out to the bizhub Highveld Lions in the race for the Four-Day Franchise Series crown.

The World Sports Betting Cape Cobras were leading until the final half an hour of the competition before Wihan Lubbe bowled the Lions to an 84-run victory against the Warriors.

The World Sports Betting Cape Cobras got bowling bonus points by restricting the Hollywoodbets Dolphins to 310 and then struck 523 for seven (declared). In the second innings, the hosts compiled 358 for two in Pietermaritzburg.

“The pitch on which we played against the Dolphins was a very disappointing one. We deserve credit that we dismissed them for 310 in the first innings. But half of their team threw their wickets away and they could have scored 600 on that pitch in the first innings,” said Prince.

“It says much about the pitch because we had a world-class bowler in Vernon Philander, one of the best in the competition in Dane Paterson, the leading wicket-taker in Dane Piedt and an in-form George Linde and we could not bowl them out in the second innings. They struck 358 for two,” Prince says.

“We expected the Lions to win and we went to Pietermaritzburg with the goal of winning, but we could not do it on that pitch.”

The World Sports Betting Cape Cobras won six of their matches and captured 178 wickets in the competition. They scored 10 centuries and 27 half-centuries in the series.

“I think we have at least half a dozen of young batsmen who could play for the Proteas in the future,” Prince said.

“The injury to Tladi Bokako was a setback and we had to sign Akhona Mnyaka. Mnyaka has underlined his talent and he is one for the future.

“In general, the Lions had more depth than us and they picked Kagiso Rapulana, Delano Potgieter and Nandre Burger with success from the senior provincial squad. Our squad was stretched,” Prince said.

“Nevertheless, I am very proud of the way we played, although it was not a fairytale ending,” Prince said.

Participating in the USSA week in December and striking two half-centuries bolstered Zubayr Hamza’s confidence and he is still on course to become the 100th Protea to be selected since South Africa’s reintroduction into the international fold in 1991/92.

Hamza, 23-year-old number-three batsman of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras, was selected in a 13-man squad for the three-match test series against Pakistan starting at SuperSport Park in Centurion on 26th December.

Linda Zondi, convenor of the CSA national selection panel, described Hamza as one of the standout cricketers in domestic cricket over the past year and carried that form into the South Africa ‘A’ tour to India where he averaged 52 in the four-day series.

Hamza scored 59 in the win for the University of the Western Cape against the NMMU and added an unbeaten 59 against the University of Cape Town.

“Not only are there a number of provincial players in the USSA week, but it also gave me opportunity to spend time in the middle,” Hamza said.

Reflecting on his career to date, Hamza acknowledged the match against the Warriors when he was drafted into the side after injury to Simon Khomari, as a turning point of his career in 2017/2018.

He immediately struck 111 and added 237 runs for the second wicket with Pieter Malan against the Warriors.

In the 2017/2018 season he finished with 828 runs at an average of 69, having only scored 151 runs in four games in the previous season.

Hamza heaped praise on Ashwell Prince and said he explained to the players what is expected at this level and also what the psychological expectations are if you are to represent South Africa.

As a combination, Prince, coach of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras, and Faiek Davids, assistant coach of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras, have had a big impact on his career.

Davids was the one that showed confidence in him and selected him for Western Province, while Prince, who played in 66 tests for South Africa, was instrumental in improving the mental aspect of his game. “Ashwell elevated the mental part of our game, having played for South Africa for a long time and knowing what is expected to be successful at that level.”

There is also a special “vibe” in the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras team under the coaching of Prince and Davids, he added.

Andrew Puttick, batting consultant of Western Province and the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras, said, “contrary to articles floating around, which gave me credit for Zubayr’s evolvement, I have not worked with him much this season, the great work has been done by Coach Ashwell Prince and his assistant Faiek Davids and as Zuby stated, there have been massive contributions from Shukri Conrad during his time at the Academy and from SA ‘A’ coach Russell Domingo.”

“I am very proud of this selection of Zubayr into the South African squad and I’m equally chuffed with the impact that the coaching staff of Ashwell and Faiek has had in his selection for the 13-man squad of South Africa,” concluded Nabeal Dien, chief executive officer of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras.

There will be no Stiaan van Zyl or Andrew Puttick in the slip cordon this four-day season, which means a completely new first, second and third slip in Aviwe Mgijima, Janneman Malan and Zubayr Hamza, but nevertheless the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras expect to improve on last season by displaying a better attitude in the field. This was the view of Ashwell Prince, head coach of the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras.

Puttick retired at the end of last season. Van Zyl was one of the best four-day batsmen on display for the Cape Cobras last season, but a knee injury will keep him on the sidelines until the end of January

He has been forced to watch his County side Sussex from the sidelines since the start of June and his progress will only be reassessed at the end of January. Van Zyl is not a fully contracted player for the Cape Cobras this season.

Prince, in speaking about the fielding – which has been described by Justin Ontong as in decline generally amongst all the franchises – said the Cape side have done enough fielding drills before the season starts and expect it to be better.

They field a very young team with Rory Kleinveldt being one of the few senior statesmen in the side.

But the fielding in South Africa has not slipped to a lower level due to a lack of intent by the franchises, according to Prince.

“Herschelle Gibbs and Ontong were playing in an era where there was general brilliance in the field.

“The fielding now is poorer because of a wrong attitude. The players don’t realise that in one moment of brilliance, you can remove the batsman who is controlling the game and possibly change the outcome of the game. It is because many players see fielding as a chore.

“What is needed is a change of attitude that you must want to make a difference in the field. If you go home and you have not given it your best effort, you have let your team down.

“Through good fielding you can lift the spirit in the field and lift the spirits of the bowlers,” said Prince.

The World Sports Betting Cape Cobras get their 4-Day Franchise Series season underway on Monday, 1 October when they take on the VKB Knights at PPC Newlands.

Finding that extra gear and possessing the right mindset while batting in the first innings are two important ingredients for the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras in their Sunfoil Series match against the Warriors (starting on Thursday at St. George’s Park in Port Elizabeth), said Ashwell Prince, the coach.

Prince said in a jam-packed Sunfoil Series the team requires a balance between rest and training and the Cobras did just that after the VKB Knights match.

He said the debriefing on Monday was a vital aspect of the preparations for the Warriors match. The team discussed the difference between the mind-set in the first innings and the second innings while batting.

The presence of JP Duminy and his experience was a boost for the team while discussing the right mental frame of mind when batting first.

One of the vital aspects of preparing for a Sunfoil Series match is to respect your opponents and expect them to bat and bowl well. “You just have to do it a bit better. That is one thing I have realized in my career. There are just a few games in which your opponents turn up and don’t play well at all. There are small margins and you have to edge your opponents,” he said.

Prince highlighted the importance of starting well and establishing a comprehensive first-innings total. If a team doesn’t do that, and ends up 200 runs behind, they are always likely to play catch-up cricket.

Wayne Parnell was not released by Cricket South Africa from the first-test squad against Bangladesh.

But Prince said the Cobras possessed good all-rounders in the team in Jason Smith and Dayyaan Galiem. He added that Simon Khomari should be braver and ask his skipper for an opportunity to bowl, because with his left-arm variations, he can pose a few questions to opposing teams.

Smith struck 500 runs last season and captured 20 wickets. He is clearly a batting all-rounder.

Galiem, though, is still at the infancy stage of his franchise career. “He can swing the ball and run through sides, and as a batsman, he can score you centuries. But he is still finding his feet at franchise level, so it is difficult to determine whether he is a batting all-rounder or a bowling all-rounder,” he added.

Prince was in awe of the defiance displayed by the WSB Cape Cobras on a flat track in Bloemfontein, culminating in a score of 567 for six in the second innings.

The Spirited Cricket Fund benefited richly from the partnerships in the WSB Cape Cobras’ batting innings and the team has already accumulated R22 500,00 for beneficiaries.

Now Prince wants more of those partnerships to occur in the first innings and for the Cobras to set up a healthy lead.

“Do we have the personnel to clinch this match? Yes, we do. We have the experience and if there are something in the pitch for the bowlers, we can definitely grab the opportunity. The pitch in Bloemfontein was definitely too flat,” he added.

WSB Cape Cobras Squad: Dane Piedt (Captain) Dayyaan Galiem, Zubayr Hamza, Simon Khomari, Pieter Malan, Aviwe Mgijima, Tshepo Moreki, Justin Ontong, Dane Paterson, Andrew Puttick, Jason Smith, Kyle Verreynne, Lizaad Williams

A technical adjustment in the off-season aided Andrew Puttick as the World Sports Betting (WSB) Cape Cobras opener struck a superb century in the two-day warm-up game against the Warriors in Oudtshoorn.

The WSB Cape Cobras skipper, Dane Piedt, led the way as they routed the visitors for 221 in their first innings. The experienced slow bowler nipped out 4-24 in ten overs of attacking off-spin, using a fourth-stump off-side line and letting it rip.

In response, Puttick hammered 100 off 170 balls with 12 fours and a six and shared in a 170-run opening partnership with Pieter Malan, who belted 72 off 149 balls. They set up a superb 354 for seven in the first innings.

The Warriors managed 96 for two in the second innings and the valuable warm-up match ended in a stalemate.

“In the off-season, Ashwell and I worked on my set-up and my alignment, and it worked as it transitioned into my batting very positively,” said Puttick.

“What I also liked, was that it was my first outdoor action since the winter.”

Prince said Puttick scored all around the ground, handled the short balls with aplomb and got himself into strong positions. “He moved forward beautifully and it will give him that feel-good factor before the season starts.

“Pieter (Malan) is an absolute machine. He is fit and strong,” Prince added.

Jason Smith also showed his fluency while compiling 55, said the coach.

Piedt was the leading wicket-taker for South Africa A against India A with nine scalps in the off-season.

Prince said Piedt and Dane Paterson bowled with good rhythm, a testimony to the fact that they have seen some outdoor action.

Piedt did not take his four wickets because the Warriors attempted to slog and holed out to the inner ring, explained Prince.

It was the result of attacking bowling, which saw him beat the bat with excellent deliveries. He removed one of the Warriors’ top batsmen, Jon-Jon Smuts on his way to 4-24.

Vernon Philander, who has captured 171 wickets in 46 tests for South Africa, is still not 100% match fit and the WSB Cape Cobras did not select him for the first warm-up games.

He won’t be ready for the second clash starting on Tuesday 12th September at the Recreation Oval in Oudtshoorn either.

The WSB Cape Cobras’ first Sunfoil Series match of the season commences on 19th September at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein against the VKB Knights.

South Africa will clash with the Bangladesh Tigers in a two-match test-series starting on 28th September.

An improvement of 10 to 20 percent by the Buildnat Cape Cobras, top order centuries and a better strike rate with the ball in the power play, are part of Ashwell Prince’s wish-list for the two Momentum One Day Cup clashes over the next six days in Paarl which could entrench the Cobras’ position high up on the log.

The Cobras and the bizhub Highveld Lions will be at loggerheads at Boland Park in Paarl on Friday (starting time: 14:00).

The Cape champions will host the current table-topping team, the Hollywoodbets Dolphins, next Wednesday, also at Boland Park. The picturesque ground is traditionally a fortress for the Buildnat Cape Cobras.

“We have our bases covered for the match today. We might include two spinners if the conditions are dry, but if not, we have enough other fire-power with the seam bowlers,” said Prince.

The coach said the team needs to improve by 10 to 20 %.

The batsmen have performed well in their previous matches. Richard Levi has been dynamic up front, picking up two man-of-the-match-awards, while the rest of the top- and middle-order have also done well.

But Prince adds an important cautionary note. “Our opponents have struck four centuries, while we have not notched up one ton. We need to change that,” he said.

“The top- and middle-order have had opportunities to perform (and capitalize on good fifties to convert that into centuries),” he added.

He also wants the new-ball bowlers to strike more in the power play.

The Cobras have been dealt a body blow as they are without Dane Paterson and Wayne Parnell, but the hosts won’t see it that way. The primary goal of the Cobras, apart from winning trophies is to produce players who will represent South Africa, and the invaluable experience that Paterson will gain from being in New Zealand might just benefit the Cape team later in the Momentum One Day Cup competition once Pato, as he is affectionately known, is back in the Mother City for the last four games of the Momentum One Day Cup competition.

Prince said the Lions have been without experienced batting stars like Temba Bavuma and Stephen Cook, while injuries have also dented their progress. But he won’t read too much into that. “The younger players will come into the team, hungry to perform,” he said.

The form of Rory Kleinveldt and the pace and aggression of a rejuvenated Lizaad Williams could be a bonus for the Cobras. Kleinveldt captured 4-48 in his previous match.

Williams knows the Paarl wicket well and has been overlooked on many occasions due to the presence of several front-line South African bowlers in the Cobras-squad. He still will have a point to prove in front of his passionate home supporters.

Stiaan van Zyl might be an ace with the ball for the Cobras, because in slower, dry conditions, his cutters could just be a factor.

Currently, the Cobras are third on the log with seven points, three behind the Multiply Titans and six behind the Dolphins. If they strike twice in six days at Paarl, they will move closer to the top in their feverish quest to repeat their heroics of the previous three seasons in which they hosted the final.

The Buildnat Cape Cobras squad is: Dane Piedt (Capt), Rory Kleinveldt, Richard Levi, George Linde, Aviwe Mgijima, Justin Ontong, Keegan Petersen, Zakhele Qwabe, Omphile Ramela, Stiaan van Zyl, Dane Vilas (W/K), Lizaad Williams

Commendable focus and intensity contributed richly to the resurrection of the Buildnat Cape Cobras, who finished third on the Sunfoil Series log with 94.76 points and won three of their final five matches in the 2016/2017-competition.

They were also denied a possible win against the Warriors at Buffalo Park when the elements thwarted their pursuit of an extra ten points.

Ashwell Prince, the Buildnat Cape Cobras’ coach, saluted the back-to-back centuries by Stiaan van Zyl, who slammed 108 and an unbeaten 101 in the final Sunfoil Series match of the season against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins at Kingsmead. The clash ended in a stalemate as the Cobras struck 291 for seven.

“We tried to secure five bonus points with the bat and four with the ball to ensure that the VKB Knights and the Multiply Titans had to win their matches to prevent us from clinching the title. When the Knights secured the Sunfoil Series title on Saturday, it was all over for us. The wicket was just too placid and my bowling attack had gone through a lot the last few weeks,” said Prince.

Prince did not mince his words about the wicket. “It was a slightly disappointing track. I thought it could have been more of a result-wicket,” he added.

The former South Africa batsman had high praise for Van Zyl. “It is an enormous pity that Stiaan would be remembered for his failure as a South African opener in India, where, frankly, all the other South African batsmen and the Indian stars also did not score runs.

“I would rather remember him for the century he scored on debut for South Africa,” he said.

“I played 66 tests for South Africa, and I would have rather paid money to see Stiaan bat than to see myself bat.

“I believe he and Andrew Puttick have the credentials to play international cricket, not for South Africa, but anywhere in the world.

“In fact, guys like Andrew, Stiaan and Justin Ontong can play for the Buildnat Cape Cobras as long as they have the hunger and the will to perform. They are that good,” he said.

Puttick struck a 26th first-class ton, a solid 116 in the final match of the season and added 55 in the second innings.

Prince said Jason Smith is a genuine all-rounder who can swing the ball both ways and also play the holding role.

“You don’t need to bowl 150 km/h to be effective. Look at Vernon Philander. But it is not that I compare Jason with Vernon. It is just that Jason is really a very skilled bowler,” he added.

“Aviwe Mgijima performed very, very well for us, by scoring five fifties in the season. And we must remember that he batted at number seven. Mostly, you bat with the number six and you have to shepherd the tail.

“He has established himself very well in the team,” he added.

Prince said the main reason why the Cobras transformed the season from a bottom-of-the-log position to third on the log, was that they secured better focus on and off the field.

During training, he also asked the players to give 100% and to focus on batting for those 45 minutes as if they are emulating a match situation.

That intense focus in the training to emulate the match situation, was an important factor.

“One thing I was proud of, was that the players left everything out on the field.

“I have told the team that what separated them from international players is not skill or ability, but confidence.

“Somebody like a Puttick and a Van Zyl can do what international players can achieve,” he added.

Another positive factor of the Cobras revival which contributed to wins against the VKG Knights and the Multiply Titans, was the superb bowling by the support staff.

When Rory Kleinveldt did not take 5-45, it was Dane Piedt who captured 6-87 or the new kid on the block, Kyle Simmonds. And don’t forget about the aggressive spell by Dane Paterson at Paarl when he took 3-39 to restrict the Knights to 153, a solitary first-innings run lead against the Buildnat Cape Cobras.

Piedt finished the campaign with 28 wickets, Paterson nipped out 23 batsmen and Smith captured 20 scalps.

Ontong, with 595 runs at an average of 53.90, was a standout-batsman, while Van Zyl finished with 709 runs at an average of 47.26 which included three centuries to finish the campaign as the top run scorer for the Cobras.

Puttick struck 477 runs and blasted two tons.

The Cobras will start the Momentum One Day Cup competition with some confidence, and will be bolstered by the return of Richard Levi.

Van Zyl and Ontong have shown with their recent form that they are attacking one-day options and can easily bat at a strike-rate of 90 or more.

The unbelievable mental application and positive mind-set were at the heart of the Buildnat Cape Cobras’ sensational 6-wicket win as the hosts chased down 237 in 43.3 overs to romp to a six-wicket Sunfoil Series-win with two overs to spare against the bizhub Highveld Lions on Sunday, said an upbeat Ashwell Prince, coach of the Cobras.

The Cobras finished with 239 for four in 43.3 overs of magnificent, adventurous ball-striking.

Set a target of 237 in the second innings, the Cobras pummelled the visitors thanks to a 74-run opening partnership between Omphile Ramela and the centurion Wayne Parnell, who finished with 103 off 131 balls, and a 125-run stand for the second wicket with Stiaan van Zyl.

“I thought Wayne was unbelievable. He scored his runs all around the wicket. His straight hitting was superb and he was great against the spinners. When I came to him and asked him if he was prepared to do it, he responded very positively to it,” Prince said.

The coach was particularly proud of the way the Cobras showed their defiance.

“You must remember that the Cobras toiled for 164 overs in the sun in the Lions’ second innings on a wicket on which the bounce was true. Even when they dropped a few chances after the Lions were nine down, they refused to give up,” he added.

“Stiaan’s knock was unbelievable. He hit the ball a mile and struck it crisply. People label him a four-day player, but you should have seen him today (striking 64 off 65 deliveries),” he added.

“Omphile did a great job for us. Initially, he was the aggressor while Parnell was finding his feet. Omphile scored more than 100 runs in the match, which is every satisfying.”

The match will do much to restore the Cobras’ self-belief after they languished at the bottom of the Sunfoil Series log with three losses from five matches in the first half of the domestic four-day showpiece.

Ironically, the Cobras had the Lions in dire straits in the corresponding match at Boland Park last season, just to allow the visitors to escape because of some sloppy fielding lapses.

The Cobras were not to be denied in 2016/2017, and their win must rate as one of the finest four-day performances of the past two seasons on any domestic ground.

Prince was proud of his bowling attack. “Tshepo (Moreki) bowled a very aggressive spell on Saturday afternoon. He bounced and tried to unsettle the tail-enders. Although it did not yield a result, it was still a great effort,” he added.

The Cobras collected 17.46 points for their gigantic effort, while the Lions had to be content with four points.